Krishna was an avatar — God descending to earth in human form and his mission was to restore dharma. The dharmas expected to be followed and ensured by the kings — the kshatriyas — at that historic time was at its lowest ebb. It was so hopelessly worse that it was virtually beyond correction by any other diplomatic means.
Krishna, with his role as a Raja Tantri, had already exhausted three of the four political means – Sama-dhana-bedha in trying to avert the war and finally, only dhanda was left in the form of Kurukshetra war; it was the massive punishment and annihilation of most of the kshatriya clan that ruled the various countries in Bhartavarsha at that time.
It must also be taken into note that Krishna’s avatar was triggered by Mother Earth (Bhooma Devi)’s request to Lord Vishnu to reduce bhubhaaram – the dead weight over earth on account of excessive presence of evil doers. And Krishnavatar happened with an agenda of massive destruction.
The world is such that when practitioners of adharma happily go on doing evil acts with no qualms, no one would have the guts to question them; but if people who follow dharma were to resort to any deviations in dharma on account of a higher purpose (restoring dharma) they will be flooded with criticism.
But an Avatara Purusha is nothing but God and God is beyond dharma and adharma. By virtue of this status, Krishna was not like any other ordinary sensitive person who tries to uphold dharma by patiently bowing down to evil (like Yudhishthira) ; naturally he played his divine lila with his head held high to annihilate the adharma by bending and breaking dharma too here and there when it was so needed for the grander purpose.
We must also take due note of two more happenings.
- Dharma won finally, alright, but it did cause great casualties to Pandavas’ side too. Krishna saved just a future offspring of pandavas — the fetus in Uttaraa’s womb (later born as Parikshit). All the 5 children born off Pandavas to Draupati got killed in the post war ambush executed by Ashwatthama. Except perhaps Bhima, the Pandavas were not really very happy lot after the war was over. It took yeoman effort to elders and wisemen to persuade the grief-stricken Yudhshthira to ascend to the throne.
- Krishna’s own clan of kshatriyas — the Yadavas, Vrishnis and Andhakas too were not any better when it came to following dharma. Their deterioration was already happening and it took some 40 years more for Krishna to ‘wind up his show’. Time came to annihilate all his clan too and he stood in the forefront to execute one of the bloodiest mutiny in Dwaraka. Finally, the whole city of Dwaraka was consumed by a tsunami and Krishna ended his avatar by allowing a lowly hunter to hit him with an arrow at his toe. What an anticlimax to the grandest story of an avatar!